Molly Bourke will ride in the biggest race of her burgeoning career at Gundagai Adelong Race Club on Friday when jumping aboard Peyton Place for Greg Stephens in the $100,000 Snake Gully Cup.
Since then, the 18-year-old has ridden nine winners in total, proving to be a popular apprentice for Southern Districts and South East trainers.
“I never thought I would have this many winners and be riding in the Snake Gully Cup when I started,” Bourke laughed.
“People don’t realise how hard it is. Getting rides and winning and everything isn’t as easy as it looks, and I can’t believe I get this chance.”
Peyton Place is a nine-time winner from 38 starts and the Sapphire Coast galloper last competed in the $200,000 Goulburn Cup, finishing seventh behind eventual winner, Al Mah Haha.
Bourke rode the six-year-old to his most recent victory in the 1200m Benchmark 84 Handicap at Moruya back in August, but she was surprised to be offered the ride in the $100,000 feature.
“When Greg said he had Peyton Place ready for me, I thought he was talking about a race at Moruya or somewhere down that way, and when he said, ‘I want you to ride in the Snake Gully Cup’, I was shocked and I’m so grateful,” Bourke said.
“I’ve only had one ride on him and that was when we won at Moruya. They were happy with how I rode him, and they promised me they would put me back on.
“I guess I’m also on for the (3kg) claim and I will just let him jump and run like usual and hopefully we are there in the finish.”
Bourke rates the Snake Gully Cup as one of her local features, having grown up in Tumbarumba before moving to Wagga, and the thought of winning the race for connections is right up there on her bucket list.
“It’s definitely going to be a bit different. I will think it over in my head and it puts the pressure on, because I’d love to win a race like that,” Bourke said.
“It would be awesome to win because it is so close to my hometown and there will be so many people there watching.
“I’ve never ridden in front of a crowd because of Covid either, and I can’t wait to get out there and experience that.”
Bourke has been trusted with the ride, despite not having ridden in a race for nearly three months following a mounting yard incident at Nowra back in August.
“The most nervous part for me will be knowing whether the fitness level is up there. I haven’t ridden in 11 weeks; I started back at track work last Thursday,” Bourke said.
“I got bucked off one at Nowra races in the mounting yard and ended up tearing the tendons in my thumb.
“We thought to start off with it would be a break and just six weeks out, and now we are nearly going on 11 weeks and I’m so pleased to be back and I’m so glad Greg Stephens has stayed by me and is putting me on.”
Bourke will have a handful of rides across the two-day Snake Gully Cup carnival that has attracted the interest from local and visiting trainers alike.
As of 9.15am on Tuesday morning morning, Racing NSW had rated the Gundagai surface as a soft six and nominations for the always popular carnival were unsurprisingly strong.
On Friday, 194 horses are entered to race on the eight-race-program, with 28 runners nominated for the Snake Gully Cup.
On Saturday, 168 gallopers have been entered for the seven-race-program with 24 runners nominated for the Hair Of The Dog Cup.